Chris Selley: Most Canadians support ‘values screening’ — which is neither surprising nor concerning

Good observations by Selley:

Of course we can’t empirically test for violent tendencies, misogyny and indolence. There are many good practical reasons not to pursue these policies. The consensus among bien-pensant campaign watchers is that this is nothing more than a populist “dog whistle” appeal to nativists and xenophobes who believe immigrants are more likely to be violent, misogynist and indolent.

But most Canadians aren’t watching the campaign at all, and couldn’t pick Leitch out of a lineup. If you ask them whether Canada should screen immigrants for objectively undesirable traits, then of course most are going to say yes. It’s absurd to hold that up as evidence of a surge in anti-immigrant sentiment, especially when the poll in question provides plenty of evidence to the contrary: 78 per cent think immigration makes Canada a better place to live or makes little difference; 83 per cent think we have much to learn from other cultures; 79 per cent have no desire to see a Trump-style figure in Canadian politics.

If you were inclined to worry about anti-immigrant sentiment, there’s plenty you could latch on to in this 61-page poll that’s far more disquieting than support for “values screening.” But that’s the genius of a wedge issue like this: it provokes a level of outrage and condemnation that to those not following closely would seem unhinged, which in turn makes the policy and the candidate seem all the more reasonable by comparison.

“Leitch’s proposal to screen every immigrant and visitor is nothing but Donald Trump’s executive order, disguised as Canadian values, and crafted to keep Muslims out of Canada,” leadership candidate Deepak Obhrai said in a statement last week. He suggested it could incite racists to murder, such as in Kansas last month.

I’m disgusted by Leitch’s campaign and even I think that’s crazy. But more to the point, it won’t help. Fighting populism with hyperbole is like fighting fire with kerosene, and it’s strange how few anti-populists seem to realize this. If Leitch’s proposal weren’t surrounded by a bunch of exploding heads and people screaming “Trump! TRUMP!” at her, it would just be one silly, unpractical and unnecessary idea among dozens in play in this campaign.

At times Leitch’s campaign has seemed less like an actual leadership bid and more like a clinical trial of Trump-brand populism in the Canadian body politic. Perhaps it will yield useful data for its architects to use with a less terrible candidate in future. But moderate Conservatives and others arguing in good faith against her really need to up their anti-populist game. Leitch is an intensely unlikable and uninspiring campaign presence who will probably lose. But some day a populist candidate with an ounce of sincerity and charisma might come along with some truly dangerous ideas.

Source: Chris Selley: Most Canadians support ‘values screening’ — which is neither surprising nor concerning | National Post

Andrew Coyne: Politicians need to forget about polls and do the right thing

Great column by Coyne “rather trust the data:”

Liberals used to take a dim view of this sort of perception-based decision-making. When the Harper government claimed it didn’t matter if the official statistics showed crime rates falling to their lowest levels in decades, because people felt as if crime was rising, Liberals rightly scoffed. Now a similar fact-free feeling — the middle class is getting nowhere — is the foundation of their whole economic platform.

Liberals are by no means the only ones playing this game. Rather than answer questions raised by her signature proposal to subject every refugee, immigrant or tourist to a quiz on their belief in “Canadian values” — questions such as why this is needed, what it would accomplish, and what it would cost — Kellie Leitch refers to polls showing sizeable majorities of Canadians support the idea.

Likewise, those raising the alarm over Motion 103, unable to answer how a parliamentary motion with no legal force or effect could restrict free speech, have lately taken to citing polling data showing a majority of Canadians with varying concerns about the motion.

It’s easy enough to gin up a poll in support of just about anything, of course, depending on how you ask the question. The people waving them about today are in many cases the same ones who not long ago were railing ago about all the pollsters who failed to call Donald Trump’s victory (in fact, they called the vote to within a percentage point: Clinton beat him by two points, instead of the three points in the consensus forecast).

But let’s suppose these polls are genuine reflections of current public opinion. That’s a good answer to the question: what does the public think on these issues? It’s no answer at all to the question: are they right to think so? Yet that is how they are invoked: if that’s how the public feels, it must be true.

Skeptics are challenged, in tones of indignation: what, so you’re saying that millions of Canadians … are wrong?

Well, yes. What of it?

“Millions of people” are quite capable of believing things that aren’t true, particularly on matters to which they have given very little thought and with which they have little personal experience. The political science literature is filled with examples of people cheerfully offering their opinions to pollsters on entirely fictional events and people. As Will Rogers used to say, “there’s lots of things that everybody knows that just ain’t so.”

Climate skeptics rightly make the point that the overwhelming consensus of expert opinion on global warming is not enough, in itself, to prove it is right. Science is not a popularity contest: throughout history, individuals have stood against conventional opinion, and been vindicated, But let 1,340 randomly selected Canadians have their dinner interrupted to answer a question from a telemarketer about a subject they’ve barely heard of, and suddenly it’s gospel.

Experts, it is true, can sometimes be mistaken. But if experts can get it wrong, the public is at least as capable of it. And yet these days we are enjoined to reflexively reject the former, and just as reflexively to believe the latter. Perhaps we should rather trust the data.

A quarter of Canadians want Trump-style travel ban, poll shows – Politics – CBC News

While I do not find these results all that surprising (but the headline could have been written “75 percent don’t want”) rather than focusing on the negative.

Angus Reid polling tends to be more negative on these issues than Environics and Ekos .

This does however reinforce the need for the government to be attentive to these concerns, even if they are more part of the Conservative than Liberal base (as some of the CPC leadership campaign strategies and opposition to M-103 indicate):

A significant minority of Canadians say Canada’s 2017 refugee target of 40,000 is too high and one in four Canadians wants the Liberal government to impose its own Trump-style travel ban.

Those are just two of the findings in a new Angus Reid poll that looked at Canadian’s attitudes towards the federal government’s handling of refugees.

Overall, 47 per cent of Canadians surveyed said Canada is taking in the right number of refugees. But 11 per cent say 40,000 is too low and Canada should take in more, while 41 per cent say the 2017 target is too high and that we should not be taking in anymore refugees.

Shachi Kurl, executive director of Angus Reid, told CBC News that “41 per cent is not the majority voice but it is a significant segment of the population that is actually saying our targets for 2017 are too high and that, I think, adds to a level of anxiety for those folks.”

“Certainly in terms of that ‘too many, too few’ debate, a lot more people think it’s too many than too few,” she said.

The survey also asked Canadians about the federal government’s decision not to alter its own immigration policy to match that of U.S. President Donald Trump’s after he rolled out his travel ban.

Some 57 per cent of Canadians said the federal government made the right call in not following Trump down the rabbit hole, while 18 per cent said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should have chose to take in more refugees.

But the number that is perhaps the most interesting is that 25 per cent of Canadians say Canada should have adopted its own temporary travel ban similar to the U.S. policy.

“We tend to, when we are looking a numbers, look at the majority view, but the fact that one in four Canadians are of the mind that we should be looking to our own travel ban is significant and is part of a red flag that is starting to emerge in terms of refugee policy,” said Kurl.

Working hard to fit in

When it comes to whether the government did a good job of resettling refugees, 61 per cent said they either strongly (12 per cent) or moderately (49 per cent) agree that it had. But some 39 per cent of people either moderately (22 per cent) or strongly (17 per cent) disagreed.

Kurl said those surveyed are also split over how well refugees are integrating into Canadian society, and how enthusiastically Canadians are welcoming new arrivals.

A slim majority of (54 per cent) say refugees do not make enough of an effort to fit into mainstream society, while 46 per cent say that they do try hard to fit in.

When the responses are broken down across age groups, it’s revealed that the younger the person, the more likely they are to say that refugees are working hard to fit into Canadian society.

For example, 62 per cent of those in the 18-24 age range say refugees are making enough of an effort to fit in, but in the 25-34 age range that drops to 47 per cent.

There is a slight spike among 35-44 year olds where 54 per cent of those asked said refugees are working hard to fit in, but for those who are 45 and older, only one in four said the same thing.

Source: A quarter of Canadians want Trump-style travel ban, poll shows – Politics – CBC News

Michael J. Donnelly and Peter Loewen: Canadians’ feelings about immigration are mixed at best

Interesting new study by political scientists and Peter Loewen, reinforcing in part some of the conclusions of the earlier Angus Reid poll (CBC-Angus Reid poll: Canadians want minorities to do more to ‘fit in’) and subject to some of the same critiques (Angus Reid’s survey actually shows high level of support for our diverse society: CardozoHow Angus Reid, CBC got it wrong about multiculturalism: Jedwab).

That being said, their policy conclusions – our political system reduces the risk, politicians and others should avoid pandering or cultivating xenophobic attitudes – are sound:

Our core conclusion:? Canadian attitudes are not exceptionally pro-immigrant or racially enlightened. Instead, Canadian society contains the potential for the same kinds of hate that we see elsewhere.

One question we asked was whether respondents would support, oppose, or neither support nor oppose cutting off all immigration to Canada. Not surprisingly, only 19 per cent of respondents supported such a step. However, only 46 per cent expressed opposition, with the rest on the fence. How does this compare to our southern neighbours? In 2010, the same question was asked of the American public. There, a similar 42 per cent expressed opposition. When asked about allowing immigrants from poor countries, the Canadian public answered more positively than 9 and less positively than 11 European countries where the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015. In other words, Canadian attitudes are normal for a developed country. Canada is not exceptional on that score.

The study, a project of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC), also found that while attitudes among Canadians towards refugees and immigrants range largely from positive to benign, those views are not necessarily strongly held.

Study author Michael Donnelly, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, concludes that, as a result, there is potential for intolerant, anti-immigrant, and anti-refugee sentiment to increase.

None of this means that Canadian politics will inevitably go the way of populist rhetoric and action. Canadian institutions and — especially — Canadian leaders have the ability to guide politics, to maintain the norms of non-racism and to pursue policies of inclusion and cooperation. Attitudes do not lead inexorably to policies or even to politics. As two of the three largest Canadian political parties choose new leaders, those party elites and activists who have a say in the process have a duty to avoid the mistakes of the U.S. Republican Party. There, a fractured elite and the use of primary elections meant that Donald Trump could use racist demagoguery to capture the leadership of a party that contains many for whom such rhetoric was not attractive. That, in turn, meant that when the normal processes of partisanship and retrospective voting took over in the general election, he had a roughly 50/50 chance of capturing the presidency.

To see if this could happen in Canada, we asked respondents who expressed support for one of the four largest parties to choose between hypothetical candidates for leadership, based only on their names, ages, province of residence and positions on the CPP, immigration and refugees. What we found is, in some ways encouraging, but contains hints of danger for the Canadian model of openness and multiculturalism. We saw no evidence of discrimination against candidates with Indian or Francophone names, and no evidence of discrimination against female names. However, among none of the parties was there clear evidence of an electoral benefit to more open immigration or refugee policies. Indeed, among Conservatives, accepting zero Syrian refugees is a “winning” strategy, and among NDP partisans, a candidate that called for increasing economic immigration appears to suffer a large electoral penalty.

We do not write this to encourage candidates to pursue such policies in their respective leadership contests. After all, public surveys offer little insight into the opinions of the small slice of Canadians who will select leaders in both parties. Rather we offer this as evidence of two claims. First, Canadian institutions of leader selection may lead to better, less divisive leaders. Second, politicians and those selecting them have a responsibility to avoid xenophobic pandering and to reinforce the norms of behavior that have allowed the Canadian model, for all its faults, to create the open, exciting and peaceful society we enjoy.

Source: Michael J. Donnelly and Peter Loewen: Canadians’ feelings about immigration are mixed at best | National Post

Another poll from Pew provides a slightly different picture:

Most Canadians don’t care where residents are born, but they do care about whether they speak English or French.

A global study of national identity by Pew Research has discovered that Canadians are among the least inclined to think place of birth defines whether someone is an authentic citizen.

Only 21 per cent of Canadians said place of birth is important. That compares to 32 per cent of those in the U.S. and more than 50 per cent of the population in Greece and Japan who believe birthplace is crucial to national identity.

The Pew Research study was done in the wake of growing concerns in the U.S. and Europe about globalization, high migration rates and protectionism, factors that have contributed to the rise of Donald Trump and immigration-skeptic parties.

pew-graph-identity-place-of-birth

Canada under the Liberals has gone a different direction, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talking about this being the world’s “first post-national country.”

Even though Canadians did not emphasize place of birth in the Pew poll, they did care about whether residents can speak English or French, the official languages.

Three in five Canadians agreed that “being able to speak our national language(s) is very important for being truly Canadian.”

Canadians’ language expectations, however, were still quite a bit lower than they are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the U.S. (See chart below.)

In Canada, one out of five people do not have English or French as their mother tongue.

Source: ‘True’ Canadians don’t need to be born here, but language matters: Poll

The Data That Turned the World Upside Down – Motherboard

While much of this is alarming and disturbing – particularly voter suppression – I would love to see some psychometrics complement conventional polling with respect to immigration issues to test different ways of posing questions:

But to what extent did psychometric methods influence the outcome of the election? When asked, Cambridge Analytica was unwilling to provide any proof of the effectiveness of its campaign. And it is quite possible that the question is impossible to answer.

And yet there are clues: There is the fact of the surprising rise of Ted Cruz during the primaries. Also there was an increased number of voters in rural areas. There was the decline in the number of African-American early votes. The fact that Trump spent so little money may also be explained by the effectiveness of personality-based advertising. As does the fact that he invested far more in digital than TV campaigning compared to Hillary Clinton. Facebook proved to be the ultimate weapon and the best election campaigner, as Nix explained, and as comments by several core Trump campaigners demonstrate.

Many voices have claimed that the statisticians lost the election because their predictions were so off the mark. But what if statisticians in fact helped win the election—but only those who were using the new method? It is an irony of history that Trump, who often grumbled about scientific research, used a highly scientific approach in his campaign.

Another big winner is Cambridge Analytica. Its board member Steve Bannon, former executive chair of the right-wing online newspaper Breitbart News, has been appointed as Donald Trump’s senior counselor and chief strategist. Whilst Cambridge Analytica is not willing to comment on alleged ongoing talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Alexander Nix claims that he is building up his client base worldwide, and that he has received inquiries from Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. His company is currently touring European conferences showcasing their success in the United States. This year three core countries of the EU are facing elections with resurgent populist parties: France, Holland and Germany. The electoral successes come at an opportune time, as the company is readying for a push into commercial advertising.

Kosinski has observed all of this from his office at Stanford. Following the US election, the university is in turmoil. Kosinski is responding to developments with the sharpest weapon available to a researcher: a scientific analysis. Together with his research colleague Sandra Matz, he has conducted a series of tests, which will soon be published. The initial results are alarming: The study shows the effectiveness of personality targeting by showing that marketers can attract up to 63 percent more clicks and up to 1,400 more conversions in real-life advertising campaigns on Facebook when matching products and marketing messages to consumers’ personality characteristics. They further demonstrate the scalability of personality targeting by showing that the majority of Facebook Pages promoting products or brands are affected by personality and that large numbers of consumers can be accurately targeted based on a single Facebook Page.

In a statement after the German publication of this article, a Cambridge Analytica spokesperson said, “Cambridge Analytica does not use data from Facebook. It has had no dealings with Dr. Michal Kosinski. It does not subcontract research. It does not use the same methodology. Psychographics was hardly used at all. Cambridge Analytica did not engage in efforts to discourage any Americans from casting their vote in the presidential election. Its efforts were solely directed towards increasing the number of voters in the election.”

The world has been turned upside down. Great Britain is leaving the EU, Donald Trump is president of the United States of America. And in Stanford, Kosinski, who wanted to warn against the danger of using psychological targeting in a political setting, is once again receiving accusatory emails. “No,” says Kosinski, quietly and shaking his head. “This is not my fault. I did not build the bomb. I only showed that it exists.”

Source: The Data That Turned the World Upside Down – Motherboard

How Angus Reid, CBC got it wrong about multiculturalism: Jedwab

While I don’t have polling expertise, Jack makes valid points regarding the survey and the presenting of false dichotomies:

According to respected pollster Angus Reid, Canadians aren’t as accepting of cultural difference as they think. That’s probably right.

Unfortunately, the observation is based on a misleading question from a survey that the Angus Reid Institute did in partnership with the CBC. Released during the first week of October, the Angus Reid-CBC survey revealed that “by a factor of almost two-to-one, Canadians say they would prefer that minorities do more to fit in with mainstream Canada, rather than encourage cultural diversity in which groups keep their own customs and language.”

Reid construes this finding as a barometer of support for multiculturalism, which he states was stronger when he asked a similar question some 25 years ago.

Reid’s formulation implies that by maintaining one’s customs and language, newcomers and their children won’t fit in to the undefined mainstream to which the survey question alludes. The survey creates additional confusion by referring to minorities in one proposed response and immigrants in the other.

Canadian multiculturalism doesn’t force newcomers to make the stark choice served up to respondents in the Reid survey. Indeed, the manner in which the policy and practice of multiculturalism is conveyed by the government of Canada suggests there is no contradiction between preserving one’s language and customs and fitting into society.

According to the government of Canada “multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging … through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs. Multiculturalism has led to higher rates of naturalization than ever before. With no pressure to assimilate and give up their culture, immigrants freely choose their new citizenship because they want to be Canadians.”

In other words, someone can preserve their Jewish heritage or celebrate Chinese New Year or speak Arabic with friends at work and still be a full participant in the so-called Canadian mainstream. Certainly our mainstream(s) is diverse and the term is left open to quite broad interpretation. The survey creates far more confusion about newcomer adjustment to Canada that it offers meaningful insights about Canadian views on the process.

The survey results that purport to be about multiculturalism are used by Reid to construct what is referred to as an index of Canadian values. One might deduce from the results that multiculturalism is not a value to which the majority of Canadians adhere. But that conclusion simply cannot be drawn on the basis of the question.

A 2013 Statistics Canada survey of 27,000 Canadians found to a great and moderate extent, 88 per cent of respondents felt ethnic and cultural diversity was a shared Canadian value.

Other questions in the Angus Reid-CBC survey that seek to gauge Canadian values are also awkwardly formulated and thereby lead to yet other unwarranted conclusions.

When it comes to secularism, the Angus Reid-CBC survey asks Canadians whether they prefer “Keeping God and religion completely out of public life” or “publicly celebrating the role of faith in our collective lives.”

Faced with another stark choice, unsurprisingly, most respondents opt for keeping religion out of public life. There is, however, a large grey area between the two visions that Canadians are not permitted to choose.

Wearing a hijab, turban or keepa at work should not be construed as a “public celebration of faith.” By providing no concrete example of what is meant by a “public celebration of faith” Reid leaves the impression most Canadians believe there should be no room whatsoever for religion in the public space. That is certainly not the view of most Canadians.

Multiculturalism and the place of religion in society remain the object of important public debate and it is vital that underlying issues be clearly explained to the population to enable them to make informed decisions. Regrettably, the survey results provided by the Angus Reid Institute and CBC do not move us closer to this objective.

Source: How Angus Reid, CBC got it wrong about multiculturalism | Toronto Star

Angus Reid’s survey actually shows high level of support for our diverse society: Cardozo

Good analysis by Andrew Cardozo:

Much is being made of a new Angus Reid poll on the attitudes of Canadians towards minorities, coming out as it does on the heels of Kellie Leitch’s plan to test immigrants on “anti-Canadian” values. Polling people’s attitudes on diversity is always a good thing as the mood does change from time to time, depending on the issues that face us.

While Angus Reid is a hugely credible polling organization, this poll is somewhere between incomplete and not very informative.

There were two sets of questions on diversity in the poll. Interestingly, the first did not receive coverage—not even in Reid’s own article on the CBC News website—while the second, the more sensational one, garnered all the coverage. Surprising!

Respondents were asked to first comment on: “How well immigrants are integrating into society.” A full 67 per cent said they were satisfied and 33 per cent said they were dissatisfied. (The report does not reveal how many had no opinion, which seems odd. Not even one per cent? But I digress.)

This is a good news story, no? Two to one, Canadians believe immigrants are integrating well. Not many government policies or societal trends get that kind of support.

Sadly, the questions that received all the coverage, perhaps because they align more with Leitch’s narrative in some way, are actually simplistic in the extreme. And further, while the questions did not use the word “multiculturalism,” Reid’s reporting did.

Here are the statements that respondents were asked to comment on: should minorities do more to fit in with mainstream society; and should we do more to encourage cultural diversity with different groups keeping their own customs and languages.

Trouble is, that is not the conundrum that defines multiculturalism. It is perhaps the conundrum that defines segregation. Should minorities fit in or live segregated lives? One or the other. Binary. No combination, no nuance.

Multiculturalism, from its very inception as a government policy in 1971 by one Pierre Trudeau, has been about both integration and cultural retention. Check the Hansard on that. Canadian individuals, immigrants and Canadian born, can generally walk and chew gum at the same time, and they do it all the time.

Interestingly, the poll came out on October 3, during Rosh Hashanah. And you have to think of all the Canadian Jews who were marking the high holiday. Most are able to get time off work and were celebrating the new year with family and friends. Jews are among the most integrated of minority groups in Canada and they contribute in significant ways in virtually every facet of Canadian society, and yet Rosh Hashanah, is widely celebrated.

So which of Angus Reid’s two statements do they fall under: fitting in or keeping their own customs? Or did they walk and chew gum?

One is tempted, on this basis, to dismiss the poll as incomplete or sloppy. But let’s look at a few other examples and try to guess what it is pointing to.

As Reid points out, attitudes change. In the 1990s, wearing a turban in the Armed Forces was a hugely controversial issue, which the Mulroney government settled at great political cost. It is part of what gave rise to the Reform Party. And, of course, today the Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan wears a turban, and, given his mastery of his role in the Canadian Forces, his competence shone through.

Several Jewish MPs celebrated last week.

Several Muslim MPs, like Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef, celebrated Eid last month while being a federal minister as did several MPs, including Conservative Ziad Aboultaif and Liberal Ahmed Hussen. Walk and chew gum.

As the world watches the horrors of Hurricane Matthew bearing down on Haiti, former Michaëlle Jean, Canada’s former governor general and now head of La Francophonie, was helping to find aid for the victims of yet another catastrophe to hit her country of origin.

To turn back to Leitch’s issue of anti-Canadian values, one is tempted to ask, are these the anti-Canadian values we should be concerned about?

If there is a conundrum with multiculturalism, it is about the limits of cultural retention and how far we go in reasonable accommodation—a debate that rages on in Quebec. It’s a good discussion to have, but in a free and democratic society, there will rarely be unanimity about where that line exists. It’s about how we make walking and chewing gum at the same time possible. Multiculturalism works when we do both things.

When a practice restricts people’s integration that is a point of discussion like wearing a niqab. But is the solution to legislate what a woman should wear, or is it to find ways in which she will feel comfortable removing it? Or may be the rest of us just get over it?

Leitch gets some support because there is a view that immigrants bring over anti-Canadian values. Whether it was the Irish Fenian who assassinated Thomas D’Arcy McGee in 1868, or the people responsible for the Air India bombing in 1985 or the shooter who killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo in 2014, (Cirillo’s assassin was Canadian born) these people had values that were not in keeping with Canadian values of equality and justice.

It would be helpful if Leitch could be more specific. Yes, we want to root out undesirable elements and want to be clear about basic Canadian values such as gender equality and respect for diversity. At the same time we need to do all we can so we don’t import terrorism or violence.

Likewise, Angus Reid might be more specific with his questions rather than erect headline-catching false conundrum.

Perhaps the newsworthy story is that Canadians believe immigrants should integrate, that’s two to one, and that they generally like the way they are integrating, that’s two to one.

Source: Angus Reid’s survey actually shows high level of support for our diverse society – The Hill Times – The Hill Times

A less nuanced analysis is Margaret Wente’s:

Yet in liberal discourse, any resistance to immigration on any grounds makes you a racist, and any questions about immigration policy are perceived as illegitimate. People get frustrated by that. They’re also frustrated by a narrative that, in their view, only goes one way. They feel they’re constantly being harangued by their betters that it is they who must accommodate the newcomers. No one ever talks about what the newcomers should do to accommodate them.

And so they’re not thrilled when Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s Premier, dons a head scarf to meet with the woman who insisted on her right to wear the niqab during the citizenship ceremony – and then tweets that it’s “an honour.” They are not thrilled when their Prime Minister promotes inclusivity by visiting a mosque where the women have to sit upstairs. They don’t like it when a Muslim boys’ soccer team refuses to play against girls.

Kellie Leitch taps into that sentiment. I don’t doubt for a moment that Canada has its share of racists – but if the Liberals ignore the genuine concerns of people who think accommodation should go both ways, they’re asking for a backlash.

Many progressives (including, I suspect, Mr. Trudeau) hold a romantic view of immigration as a sort of global social-justice project, which obliges us to share our good fortune with as much of the rest of the world as possible, while declaring that every other culture is just as good as ours is.

Thankfully, most Canadians don’t share this woozy notion. They pride themselves on their tolerance. But they’re also hard-headed pragmatists. They think immigration policy should serve our national interests, and that our leaders should not forget it.

 How much diversity do Canadians want? 

CBC-Angus Reid poll: Canadians want minorities to do more to ‘fit in’

The latest survey on attitudes towards integration. Questions not that nuanced, and the usual contradiction between two-thirds being satisfied “with how well immigrants are integrating” and an equal number who believe “minorities should do more to fit in better with mainstream Canadian society.”

The online survey was conducted in early September from a sample of 3,904 Canadians. The results have a 2.5 per cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.

The poll was conducted in the wake of a series of issues that dogged politicians as they contested last year’s federal election: a proposed ban on niqabs in public service; the Syrian refugee crisis; and terrorist attacks both in Europe and on Parliament Hill.

The results also hint at why Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch believes she may be onto a winning issue by asking supporters their thoughts on vetting would-be immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian values.”

According to the poll, two-thirds of Canadians say they’re “satisfied” with how well new immigrants are integrating into their communities.

That figure seems to fly in the face of another result, because an equal number said they believe “minorities should do more to fit in better with mainstream Canadian society.”

‘Unthinking or mindless multiculturalism’

Former B.C. premier and Liberal cabinet minister Ujjal Dosanjh has written and spoken extensively about the need to address concerns about equality, race and culture in the face of blind devotion to multiculturalism.He said the poll shows Canada’s political leadership needs to pay attention.

“What you want is creative multiculturalism, generous multiculturalism, but not unthinking or mindless multiculturalism where everything anybody brings to this country is acceptable,” he said.

“Diversity is great if we can begin to live with each other in equality, in understanding … but we also understand our collective obligations to building a better society. If we can’t live together with each other properly and make concessions to each other, then this phrase that politicians use — that diversity is a strength — is nonsensical.”

http://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.3784194 

ICYMI: Pollsters starting to see uptick in government work

Back to “committing sociology:”

The Trudeau government is reinvesting in public opinion research after it was virtually abandoned in the final years of the last Conservative government, though spending remains far below historical averages, according to veteran pollster Frank Graves.

“They’ve committed to doing more and more work…but it’s certainly nowhere near the levels it was historically both with the early stages of the Conservative government, certainly the Liberal government before that, and the Mulroney government before that,” he told The Hill Times.

Mr. Graves, founder and president of Ekos Research, said in an interview that the federal government has contracted more public opinion research work from his company since the election last fall. He linked this to the Liberals’ push to what they see as a return to evidence-based decision-making.

It pales in comparison, however, to what was seen in even the early stages of the Conservative government, he said.

The Harper government spent $31.2 million polling Canadians in the 2006-07 fiscal year before cutting back to $4.9-million in 2013-14, The Hill Times reported.

This stretch of scarce funding represented a “very unusual period,” Mr. Graves said, with the government conducting “virtually no research” of any significance during this span.

A 2003 auditor general’s report clocks in federal spending on public opinion research in 2002-03, under a previous Liberal government, at $23.7 million and $26.2 million the year before.

Mr. Graves partly attributed lagging “rust” in the bureaucratic channels in preventing the Liberals from revving up polling efforts back to previous levels.

“[It’s] going to take awhile for the bureaucracy to catch up and for the resource envelope [to expand] to do this in levels which would be more commensurate with the need and demand and express priority provided to this approach,” Mr. Graves said, noting that civil servants would also need to catch up with technological advancements in the field.

When reached, the Treasury Board Secretariat said it did not have up-to-date figures on spending on public opinion research or consultations specifically.

….Pollsters optimistic after lean decade

Stephen Kiar, CEO and founder of Ottawa-based public opinion and market research firm Phoenix SPI, said his company has also started to see an increase in public opinion research work in the last month or so.

After the election, the Liberals proceeded “cautiously and deliberately,” as new ministers learned their departments, relevant issues, mandates, and staff, among other considerations, he said.

As a result, Phoenix didn’t see any increase in work before the government’s fiscal year ended on March 31, though things picked up afterwards, Mr. Kiar said, as departments began putting together their research plans for the coming year, and seeking the necessary approvals.

“It appears that many departments have finished that planning process and are starting to engage research firms like ours for their projects,” he explained.

Mr. Kiar said it’s too early to compare spending to the previous Conservative government, which he argued “savaged” the public opinion research budget, while dramatically increasing the media monitoring budget.

Under the Trudeau Liberals, mandate letters to cabinet ministers noted a need for Canadians to see the government’s “willingness to listen” and for the government’s work to “be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians.”

Mr. Graves framed the period under the Conservatives that saw a “real paucity” of public opinion research as an “anomaly,” and partly blamed the scarcity of polling on what he saw as the government’s indifferent, sometimes “hostile” approach to empirical research.

Critics accused the Harper government of gutting funding for research and muzzling federal scientists. The Conservatives axed the mandatory long-form census in 2011, drawing strong criticism from a wide range of groups worried about the consequences the decision would have on the reliability on the vital data gleaned from the sweeping survey of Canadians.

The Liberals reinstated the long-form census as mandatory shortly after assuming office last November.

Kara Mitchelmore, CEO of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, an industry advocacy group, says numbers on polling activity for 2016 won’t be known until the end of the year, though she cited the re-establishment of the mandatory long-form census as leading to an increase in work.

“I can say anecdotally that with the re-instalment of the long form census, which MRIA strongly supports, there is an obvious noticeable increase in data collection roles,” she said in an emailed statement, noting that this will “trickle down” into more analyst roles, which is “great news” for the industry.

Mr. Graves said he expects funding for polling to eventually be restored to previous heights, though predicted it would only reach a quarter of the historic average this year.

That’s still “a lot better” than what we saw in the late stages of the previous government, he noted.

Source: The Hill Times

US election 2016: What does ‘Islam’ think of America? – BBC News

Useful summary of what some of the polling data indicates:

The Pew Research Centre, which surveys global attitudes, said anti-Americanism was strong around the word around the time of the US invasion of Iraq.

However, currently there is little evidence of profound anti-American sentiment except for in a handful of countries, it says.

Bruce Stokes, director of global economic attitudes at Pew, says sentiment towards the US varies widely between Muslim-majority countries.

“We tend to see more negative sentiment among Muslims in the Middle East, such as those from Egypt and Jordan,” he says.

Barack Obama meeting American MuslimsImage copyrightGetty Image
“But Muslims outside the Middle East generally have a more positive outlook,” he adds.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, 62% of people hold a favourable opinion of the US, Pew’s latest data suggests.

That figure rises to 80% in Senegal, a country which is over 90% Muslim. Mr Stokes points out that this is a stronger approval rate than Germany.

“Attitudes have also been changing over time. We’ve seen a gradual rise in positive sentiment since President Barack Obama came to power,” Mr Stokes says.

“Even in the Palestinian Territories, where sentiment is 70% unfavourable, that’s an improvement on 82% in Barack Obama’s first year.”

The BBC World Service commissioned its own poll of global attitudes in 24 countries in 2014.

Among other things, it asked respondents if they thought the US “had a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world”.

Pakistanis generally held the worst view of the US, with 61% saying the US had a negative influence.

But both China and Germany were not far behind, scoring 59% and 57% respectively.

Turkey, almost 98% Muslim, was split between 36% positive, 36% negative and 28% neutral.

Source: US election 2016: What does ‘Islam’ think of America? – BBC News